A History of Bishopville, South Carolina

Lee County Court House - Bishopville, SC (2007)

In 1786, 465 acres of land was granted by the state of South Carolina to Jacob Chambers. The property was sold to Daniel Carter and in 1790 it was once again sold to William Singleton. From that time until the name was changed to Bishopville, the settlement was known as Singleton's Crossroads.

Singleton and his wife owned a tavern which was a stopping place for the stage coach between Georgetown and Charlotte. The tavern was located at the intersection of Mecklenburg Road, now known as Church Street, and McCallum Ferry Road, now known as Main Street.

When William Singleton died in 1798, his wife took over the tavern until her death in 1820. The following year, the family sold the land to Dr. Jacques Bishop. Known as Singleton's Crossroads, the town was renamed, Bishopville in honor of Dr. Bishop.

Dr. Jacques Bishop moved to Singleton's Crossroads along with William Bowen. Bowen was married to Eliza Kimbrough Brockington. Eliza was the daughter of Penelope Benton Brockington Bishop, Jacques wife. Charlotte Crosswell Stuckey was a Bowen before she married Howell Stuckey, after the death in 1841 of James Spearman Bowen. Dr. Bishop died in the home of William Bowen.

Prior to the American Revolution, the area that now constitutes Bishopville, the county seat of Lee County, was mainly a wilderness with only a few primitive houses scattered over a large area.

Downtown Bishopville, South Carolina

The section of Sumter County known as Old Salem voted to leave Sumter County and by an Act of legislature in 1897 was made into Lee County. The boundaries, taking land from Sumter, Darlington, and Kershaw counties, were surveyed, officers for the county were elected, and legislative delegates seated. But, Darlington County brought suit to contest the legality of the Act and it was annulled by the Supreme Court on the grounds that it had not been certified by the Commissioners of Elections. Under the constitution, no further effort could be made for four years.

In the election of February 25, 1902, the citizens once again voted in favor of the new county with Bishopville as the county seat. Once again an injunction was carried to the Supreme Court. After much delay, it was ruled that all requirements had been met. The Act named commissioners to mark the boundaries of the county and to provide for a court house and a jail. The natural boundaries were defined as along Lynches River, Black River, Scape 'Ore Swamp, Sparrow Swamp, Long Branch, and Screeches Branch. The main limits followed old roads and artificial lines as surveyed in 1898 through the parent counties.

On Monday, December 15, 1902, word reached Bishopville of their success. The town and county celebrated with speeches and the shooting of an old cannon many times over and over. The old cannon is now located on a concrete base in front of the Lee County Court House.

Lee County is located on the coastal plains of South Carolina. The county is mainly rural and has been historically a leader in cotton production in the state. The two major towns are Bishopville, the county seat, with about 3,500 residents, and Lynchburg with about 600 residents.

Bishopville was granted a U.S. Post Office on March 18, 1824, and its first Postmaster was Mr. William H. Bowen. When it was established, Bishopville was in the Sumter District (county). In 1902, Lee County was created out of part of Sumter, Darlington, and Kershaw counties and Bishopville has been in Lee County ever since. Its Post Office has been in continuous operation ever since inception.
Click Here to view / download a 2017 map of Bishopville, SC. Adobe PDF file. Fairly large file.

© 2019 - J.D. Lewis - PO Box 1188 - Little River, SC 29566 - All Rights Reserved